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GERMAN

Body of missing German hiker found in Italy

The body of a missing young German woman was found Saturday on the slopes of Gran Sasso, the highest peak in central Italy, according to media reports citing local police.

Body of missing German hiker found in Italy
The woman disappeared shortly after checking in by the peak on Monday. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli / AFP

The woman, identified as 27-year-old Elisabeth Matthes, was recovered on a rocky scree at 2,200 metres (7,200 feet) of altitude, to the north of the mountain resort of Campo Imperatore.

Her rucksack was found 200 metres higher up the mountain.

The AGI news agency said the woman had checked into the Campo Imperatore hotel on Monday but had not been there since going out shortly after her arrival.

Staff raised the alarm when she did not come back for dinner, having leftsome of her belongings in her room.

The hotel is famous as the place where Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was briefly imprisoned in August 1943 before he was liberated in a daring raid by German commandoes.

The area around Gran Sasso, which rises to a peak at 2,912 metres, is popular with hikers in the summer but is considered dangerous walking territory from early October onwards.

AGI reported that the local police had ruled out the involvement of any other party in the woman's death. The corpse was to be evacuated by helicopter with formal identification set to take place on Monday.

IMMIGRATION

Italy holds migrant rescue ship as hundreds land

Italian authorities held a migrant rescue boat for 12 hours after it brought more than 230 people to a port in south western Italy following a four-day ordeal on the high seas, an NGO said on Sunday.

Italy holds migrant rescue ship as hundreds land
Migrants rescued by Sea-Watch 3 in November 2017. Photo: Alessio Paduano/AFP

German NGO Sea-Watch said in a statement that their boat Sea-Watch 3 was held until gone midnight on Saturday after arriving at the port at Reggio Calabria with 232 people onboard.

Italian police questioned the boat captain for more than four hours, according to the NGO, and journalists travelling on the vessel were asked to hand over video footage of the rescue operation, which took place on June 5th.

“The political attacks against us are not only endangering us, but those in maritime distress,” the NGO tweeted. “After 12 hours stuck in port, without a comprehensible reason given by the authorities, while there were 6 SAR-Cases on the Mediterranean Sea, we finally set sails to SAR.”

SAR stands for search and rescue operations.

Sea-Watch said police also questioned some of the rescued migrants from the boat. After being processed by the authorities they are likely to end up in migrant reception centres.

The holding of the boat comes after Italy's new anti-immigrant government pledged to slow down landings and speed up expulsions of migrants illegally in the country.

“If anyone thinks I won't move a muscle while we have another summer of landings, landings and more landings, well that's not what i'm going to do,” said new Interior Minster Matteo Salvini from the far-right League party on Saturday.

Sea-Watch said it had requested help from the coastguard in Malta to send boats to aid the rescue mission last week but Malta refused.

Salvini has previously lambasted neighbouring Malta for not doing more to help deal with would-be asylum seekers — a charge Malta has denied.

While Sea-Watch 3 was being held in Reggio Calabria, fellow NGO SOS Mediterranee rescued 629 people in six separate night-time operations in the Mediterranean.

The French organisation said that of those saved and brought on board its ship Aquarius on Saturday night, 123 are unaccompanied minors, 11 are small children and seven are pregnant women.

They are currently heading north in search of a secure port at which to dock.